Friday, May 27, 2011

You Can Stop Cooking Dinner Now

I can't believe it's been almost a year and a half since I brought my little girls home from the hospital and while the time has flown by, this has been the longest eighteen months of my life. It has been a wonderfully thrilling and terrifying roller coaster of emotions. I am so excited to see what the future holds for us, but am content with taking it day by day.

With the first year and a half monument quickly approaching, I was looking at half-written blogs (there are TONS of them) and came across one that I wrote sharing the story of their birth. I thought that it was the perfect time to share this, and thank God I wrote most of it soon after their birth because I've already forgotten half of it - 1. So I'll have more children. 2. Mother's brain.

So, here it goes...

As you've read in previous blogs, I really enjoyed being pregnant with the little ones - we shared my body quite nicely. But towards the end (after 39 weeks, much farther along than most friends, family and even I thought we'd make it) I was ready for these girls to come! I tried everything "they" recommend to induce labor naturally and it just resulted in false labor contractions that were uncomfortable and annoying. Finally, on Saturday, December 5 after having false contractions all afternoon, I sat down on my couch and had a little "heart to heart" with my girls. I told them to come when they were ready. I told them that I would wait for them and that the ball was in their court. Well, I guess they are control-freaks like their mama, because two hours later (around 7 pm), I felt my first contraction. I had been having Braxton-Hicks contractions for a few days, but when my first "real" contraction hit, I knew it was time.

It hit me as I was washing the bathroom floor. (Another sign of impending labor - I had been scrubbing floors all day long... like on my hands and knees scrubbing... at 9 months pregnant and 60 lbs heavier, that was quite a feat). Anywho, the first one hit and I knew instantly that this was it. I walked to the kitchen, where Damon was cooking a lovely pasta dinner and said "You can stop cooking dinner now." He looked back at me with excitement in his eyes.

I immediately got in the shower - I had wanted to give birth in water even before I was pregnant. The pains were intense, but manageable. With each tightening of my belly, I knew we were that much closer to meeting our little ones. After about 30 minutes in the shower, I told Damon to call our OB. It's funny - in our Bradley class, we practiced over and over timing contractions, and practiced the scenario of labor, but all of that flew out of the window when it was actually time. I have no idea how close my contractions were or how long they lasted... I just knew it was time to go to the hospital.

Damon was like a soldier at war. Within minutes he had the whole car packed with our necessities (and non-necessities - who really packs a pack of playing cards? "Oh yeah, we can play a game of Go Fish between contractions") and had my seat covered with blankets and towels. I shimmied up in the seat and we were on our way.

As soon as we parked, I jumped (as any pregnant woman could jump) out of the car and threw up in the parking lot (I will never enjoy popcorn with Parmesan cheese the same way again). Once relieved of the contents of my stomach, we entered the hospital, ready for our mission.

We checked in to the hospital and they showed us to our room. The nurse had me change into my gown and told me to lay down in the bed and started to strap me in... I started feeling like I wasn't controlling the ship anymore so we pulled out the birth plan. They hooked me up to the monitors to check on the girls and bombarded me with questions (which may have been necessary for legal purposes, but I couldn't have cared less to answer those questions at the time). As the contractions were becoming more intense, I was feeling very constrained in the bed and was wanting my freedom. I asked to go into the shower and once they got the positive readings they were looking for, allowed me to roam free.

Ahh... sweet relief... the contractions were so much easier to handle while warm water was pulsating on my lower back. Damon grabbed ahold of the shower head and positioned it in all the right places. I bent over a chair, swayed back and forth and moaned through each contraction.

An hour later, it was time to check on the girls again and I was forced to leave my contented spot to return to the bed for more monitoring. As I laid there, strapped down to the bed, my contractions became more intense and almost unbearable. During each contraction I thought to myself "Drugs! Drugs! Drugs will make this all better! When it stops, I need to ask for drugs!" Then the contraction would stop and I would feel better. The next contraction would come before I was able to request relief.

Back in the shower... oh sweet shower. Not only did the shower help with the contractions, but it helped me stay clean. My body wanted to rid itself of everything it had before I gave birth. I won't explain any more - I'll just leave that up to your imagination... although it is probably worse than you can imagine... Damon had to request an extra gown.

Everything happened much quicker than we expected. When we entered the hospital I was only 3 cm dilated, which was a big disappointment as I had been that dilated for almost a week. An hour later, I was 5 cm and an hour after that I was 7 cm. At 7 cm I was ready to push. Everything in my body told me to push, but my doctor warned me to wait until I was 9 cm. It was quite difficult to hold back, but I trusted my OB... I figured that she had done this a few times more than me.

An hour later, I couldn't wait anymore. It was time. My doctor came in to check me and we were at 9 cm - ready to go! Having twins, I was considered "high risk" and therefore it was "mandatory" for me to deliver in the OR (operating room). My birth plan requested that I be able to deliver in the labor room (as long as there were no other issues). So, when it was time, my doctor told me to go ahead and start pushing in the labor room. I was so excited for this next step! I laid down in the bed and we started pushing. I didn't need to do anything as my body was doing it all for me. I let my instincts take over and pushed and wailed. After a minute or so, a hospital administrator came in and demanding I be taken to the OR. My doctor reluctantly agreed, and they started to move me to the new room.

Well, my body had started something that it was determined to finish, so I continued pushing (which required the use of my vocal-cords for some reason) as they wheeled me down the hall. I can only imagine what those poor soon-to-be-mothers walking the floor were thinking as I was screaming down to my new room.

When we arrived to the very bright, cold and institutional room, I was not pleased when they transferred me to another "bed" but I was ready to meet my little ones so I rolled myself over to the bed or should I say operating table. Everything was very sterile, metal and cold and I thought to myself that this is not where I wanted my girls to enter their life, but I really had no choice, so I pushed forward (pun intended).


I thought I might spare the gory details about giving birth, but if you have read it this far, you must be somewhat interested and so I'll share my story.

Pushing was the worst. Kristie Allie said it right when her character on "Look Who's Talking" compared child birth to "pushing something the size of a watermelon out of something the size of a lemon..." It burned like hell and I felt like I was going to rip in half. But I was determined so I tapped into my Bradley instructor and tried to follow all of the techniques I had learned in class. Damon helped by pulling my knees behind my ears... not really, but it sure felt like it1. Ten minutes later at 11:30 pm, I felt a burst of release (and wetness) as Abby entered the world. Our OB handed her to Damon and he showed her to me. I was so exhausted that I could hardly see her and asked, "Is she pretty?" Damon looked at the 4 lb 14 oz little purple monster with a black eye and smashed face and replied "She's beautiful..." and then whispered to the nurse, "Is she okay? Why does she look like this?"

Later we found out that Abby was so eager that she had descended into my pelvis early and sat there for a month with her face pressed against my pelvic bone while Issy sat on top of her.

The nurses removed Abby and took her to the nursery while I rested. And rest I did... I relaxed and relaxed. From everything that I had read about twin births, the second one seemed to "glide out effortlessly". Five minutes before midnight my OB reminded me, "You have 5 minutes if you want these babies to have the same birthday". I sighed and said, "I can't... I'm too tired."

I closed my eyes and just relaxed. I needed to recuperate. I wanted to meet my second baby, but I also wanted to sleep - little did I know that this was no longer something I would be able to do for a long while. At a quarter after midnight, my OB told me that I was (for lack of better words) closing up. My cervix was closing and I needed to start the labor process again. As I had prepared for a natural birth, I had requested to spur the labor on by natural methods... one which included nipple stimulation. My OB, an advocate of my wishes, told me to start stimulating. I reached for my nipple and started rubbing it between my thumb and my middle finger. After all these folks had seen of me, I had lost all modesty and... shall I say it... self-respect? And while I was determined to have these girls as naturally as possible, I really didn't have the energy or desire to stimulate myself. Especially in that sitution... the mood wasn't right. No candle, no soft music... how could I turn myself on?

So... Pitosin it was... Bring it on. Help me deliver sweet Isabelle to this world. They started the Pitosin to help revigurate the contractions. And revigurate they did!!! The contractions came back full blast! I laid there, experiencing an immense tightening senstation in the deepest of my guts... wanting to feel that sweet release again. My husband grabbed my legs at the knees and pulled them as close to my head as they could possibly reach and I pushed with all my exhausted might. I pushed and pushed (okay, I admit, I was super lazy at this point) and nothing.

In the hour or so that I was pushing with Isabelle, we had a number of interupptions. I didn't care to notice who was popping in our room, but I remember hearing my OB saying, "Yes... we're still at it..." "Yes, this is just like the good old days..." "No, we're not going anywhere right now...". I thank God for my OB.

At a little after 1 am, my OB told me to "get serious or she was going to have to cut me open." That was all the motivation I needed. I waited until the next contraction had waved over and my husband pulled my legs to way up over my head. I again tapped into my Bradley instructor, breathed in and pushed as hard as I could. Through the screams and grunts, I felt an emreging occur... Fire down below! Again my insides felt as if they might rip open, but I pushed through with all the might I could muster. "She's crowing". I gathered up any energy I could find... my elbows were hiding some... "She's almost here". And then PUSH as hard as possible... and then the sweet release. The sweet release was very messy. Lots of fluid... lots of blood... but oh so grand! At 1:09 am, the next day, Isabelle made her entrance into the world.

While there were complications after the birth, nothing prevented me from nursing my babies and being their mama. A wild ride at the hospital turned into an even more wild ride at home... but I have survived and am looking forward to telling my "war stories". More to come...

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